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This Sunday, Shaw’s United House of Prayer for All People will hold its annual “Baptism by Fire Hose,” which allows for large-scale sin healing and Christ bonding. The mass baptism will be the church’s 82nd; last year, about 800 got wet. If you can’t make it out to this year’s event—-which is slated to begin at 8 a.m.—-check out last year’s Post piece on the hosing, if just for the subhead: “Hundreds Drenched In Water And Emotion.”

Yesterday, MPD Community Relations Coordinator Marco Santiago wrote a note on the 3rd District Listserv noting that the baptism will require a temporary street closure. “The United House of Prayer will be having its annual Baptism by Fire hose Sunday,” he wrote. “The 600 block of M St NW will be blocked off. Please use an alternate route.”

“Is this for real??” wrote one concerned citizen, in a note forwarded by MPD Community Services Director Yvonne Smith. “Exactly what it says,” replied Santiago. “Starting this week the UHOP will be having a congregational meeting and a service on Sunday where a fire hose is used to baptize over 2000 people expected to attend.”

“In the street?” wrote Assistant Chief Diane Groomes.

“Does the water come from a fire hydrant?” wrote another citizen.

William Jordan, noted guy who posts on Listservs, seems to be the only one who gets it. “Just pretend it’s something that is culturally important to ‘you’ and view those participating as neighbors,” wrote Jordan. “And let the police focus on fighting crime, rather than the culture police, whose job it is to enforce the lifestyle norms of the hip and trendy. If anything our neighborhoods need more not fewer such events and they should be encouraged, not harrassed by the police.”

Photo, “Me using the fire hose,” by dmuth.